5 pivotal games that could define the Carolina Panthers 2023 season

Frank Reich
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Carolina Panthers
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Carolina Panthers vs. Texans

  • Week 8 - October 29, 1pm ET

Now confirmed to take place on the other side of the bye week, facing the Houston Texans has been circled by Carolina Panthers fans and NFL pundits since the opponents were announced.

The obvious reason: Bryce Young versus C.J. Stroud. The No. 1 overall pick meets the prospect chosen immediately after during the 2023 NFL Draft.

These two impressive, young leaders have competed since their early days in California. They continued that competition all the way up to this very exact moment, both having been viable candidates to be the first pick as Carolina's future franchise quarterback.

Despite the bonafide friendship and adoration that these men have for each other, this will be a fiery contest.

Young will undoubtedly want to prove to his teammates, the organization, and the fans that the Panthers made the right decision in selecting him. Stroud, on the opposite sideline, will be out to bespeak the possibility that Carolina's brass should have prioritized him. Their respective teams will gravitate towards that incentive and give maximum effort to their leaders.

The game also serves as an interesting duel between coaching staff embarking on their first crusade with their new teams. Both rosters are young but have very talented core pieces.

An additional aspect I’m focused on is how this young team responds to Frank Reich and Co. following the bye week and any adjustments made. As head coach, he is 4-0 coming off a bye, with one of those wins coming against the Texans in 2019.